Monday, April 30, 2007

HIV Denialists "Delusional"

Late last year EoR blogged about a man appealing a conviction of having unprotected sex without informing his partners he was HIV positive.

The verdict is now in.

Justice John Sulan today dismissed the witnesses' testimony, saying the pair lacked credibility and were advocates for a cause rather than independent experts. He said the evidence that HIV existed was compelling and he rejected the application for a re-trial. [...] To counter the claims, the prosecution called eight HIV experts including AIDS research pioneer Professor Robert Gallo. Prof Gallo, who was one of the scientists who discovered AIDS in the early 1980s and linked HIV as the cause of the disease, testified via video-link from his home in Bethesda, Massachusetts. He told the court the Perth Group members was misguided, inappropriate and delusional.

The main witness for the delusional idea was Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos, founder member of the HIV denialist Perth Group and who, during the trial, apparently claimed Africa does not have an AIDS epidemic. EoR suspects the whole of Africa breathed a sigh of relief.

EoR still remains confused about Ms Papdopulos-Eleopulos' qualifications. According the the Perth Group website, she is a biophysicist. According to the Australian newspaper, she is a medical engineer. According to the report, she is both a medical researcher and a physicist.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder whether the Perth Group have played a larger role in this case than merely being called as witnesses for the defence by someone clutching at legal straws.

    Consider this scenario. A man finds out he's HIV-positive, so does some reading up on the virus. By bad luck he stumbles on the work of HIV denialists and believes it: it must be quite an attractive notion that this virus is harmless and he is - contrary to what his doctor told him - at no risk from a life-destroying and heavily stigmatised disease. In that case, if he really believes his HIV infection is no big deal, it sort of makes sense not to tell his partners about it or take measures to protect them because he doesn't believe there's anything to protect them from. So his partners become infected.

    If that's what happened then the HIV denialists have, by denying the need for preventive measures, contributed to the spread of the disease.


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